A Little Extra Work
How do you make a movie about one of the world's great cultural heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian lawyer who gave up his life and profession to serve the people of India? You do it with lots and lots of extra help.
In a country with such a dense population, that's not usually a problem. So calls went out via flyers and posters for 400,000 extras to fill out the scenes for Gandhi's funeral. With the caveat that all clothing worn, must be white. Those who showed up in other colors, had their clothes bought by the movie crew, to get them into the right costume.
In total, some 300,000 extras were hired for the funeral scene, although only just under 95,000 were paid by contract. The rest worked for free, presumable for the honor or excitement of appearing in a Hollywood epic that would go on to eight Oscars.
Perhaps the extras were glad when the funeral scene was over. It was reported that make-up was so successful with actor Ben Kingsley, that many native Indians thought it was Gandhi's ghost. Kingsley, who was born Krishna Bhanji, had another link to the great man, because his own father's family came from the same state where Mahatma Ghandi was born.